April 22, 2008
|In this issue…
People on the Move
Property Management Systems
Marketing / Management
Sales & Catering, Meeting Planning
F&B / POS
TOP O’ THE NEWS
- Why is the “Software as a Service” model slow to take off for independent hotels?
A call from the vendor of a new SaaS-based PMS set me thinking about why this business model has been so slow to take off in this industry. Hotels don’t buy SaaS (Software as a Service) software up front or install it on property, they just access it over a network – usually the Internet – in return for a monthly fee per user or per hotel room.
As with any centrally-hosted and –supported system there are several advantages for the individual property, with software updates, back-ups and security all taken care of professionally by more highly-skilled staff than could normally be afforded by a single hotel. There still needs to be some interface hardware at the property itself to coordinate links with phone systems, POS, etc. but the overall support effort is greatly reduced. Multi-property organizations have adopted the centrally-hosted model more readily, given that they see the added benefits of quick and easy access to consolidated guest data and to reports comparing their properties’ relative performance.
One objection mentioned is that hotels don’t like to keep paying for ever to use their software, but this argument ignores the fact that they do keep paying the not-insignificant support fees for as long as it’s in use, and typical SaaS fees aren’t that much different. A bigger factor seems to be that hoteliers are more comfortable keeping possession of their software and guest data on property, despite growing evidence of the reliability of network connections. But I have to believe that it’s worth paying a steady fee to not have to worry about back-ups, software upgrades and anti-virus hassles.
What are your thoughts? I’d love to get some feedback on this. Drop me an e-mail at jonjoningecom
- Broadband Hospitality appoints Gary Till and Richard Donnan as Directors of Business Development
- Mike Devine hired to Squirrel Systems’ Senior Management Team
- Bertrand Kientz hired as VP Software Development Strategy for Amadeus
- VIZERGY hires Jennifer Myers as VP Brand Development, and Michelle Armstrong, Renee Still Day and Jay Waite as regional sales managers
- Steve Tipsword hired by ICE Portal as SVP Business Development and COO
Ohio-based Broadband Hospitality has appointed Gary Till and Richard Donnan as Directors of Business Development in newly-opened Northeast and Southeast U.S. regional offices, respectively, in Washington, DC and Tampa, FL.
Mr. Till brings 15 years of lodging industry experience, most recently as Director of Business Development for Swiss Telecom Co. He was previously an Account Sales Executive with high-speed Internet service provider IBAHN, and for 12 years served as an IT Project Manager for Marriott International.
Mr. Donnan, with 20 years of senior management experience in hospitality sales, has previously worked for companies such as NCR, Hotel Information Systems, and Philips. Most recently he served as Director of Business Development for Comcast Cable, developing its HospitalityOne program.
Mike Devine has been hired to Squirrel Systems’ Senior Management Team, sharing sales and marketing responsibilities with David Atkinson and focusing on the Squirrel reseller channel. Mr. Devine was most recently responsible for the business development and marketing for a subsidiary of an international food distribution company. He had previously been a founding partner of loyalty program/gift card vendor Lochinvar Software, which was acquired by Squirrel in 2004, and had earlier served as General Manager of channel sales for a global telecom provider.
Bertrand Kientz has been hired as Vice President, Software Development Strategy for Amadeus. Mr. Kientz joins after seven years as Information Systems Director for urban outdoor advertising JC Decaux. He had previously worked for 18 years with Air France, culminating as Design & Development Director.
VIZERGY (formerly SECURE-RES) has hired Jennifer Myers as Vice President of Brand Development, and Michelle Armstrong, Renee Still Day and Jay Waite as regional sales managers.
Ms. Myers’ background includes service as Regional Director of Sales for B.F. Saul Company Hotel Division; she currently serves as president of the Northern Virginia chapter of the National Business Travel Association.
Ms. Armstrong, Midwest regional sales manager, has worked in sales and marketing for hotels such as Hyatt, Pfister and Ambassador.
Ms. Still Day, US-West Central regional sales manager, is a former Director of Sales and Marketing for IHG, Radisson and Choice.
Mr. Waite, US-South Central regional sales manager, brings 20 years of hotel operations and sales experience, most recently on the Product and Service Development team with Hilton’s Hampton Inn.
Steve Tipsword has been hired by ICE Portal as Senior Vice President of Business Development and Chief Operating Officer. Mr. Tipsword brings thirty years of travel industry experience, most recently as Senior Director of Marketing for the Aruba Hotel and Tourism Association (AHATA) and Executive Director for Meet Aruba, the meetings and incentive marketing arm of AHATA. He had earlier served as General Manager for Continental Airlines Vacations, Director, eCommerce & Distribution for Air Jamaica, and in various positions during his 17 years with Delta Air Lines including National Account Manager and General Manager, Online Agency.
- Stoneleigh Hotel & Spa opens with NORTHWIND’s full Maestro suite
- NORTHWIND offers live, Web-based on-demand one-on-one training sessions
- Chandler Inn Hotel picks NOVEXSYS’ Web-based PMS
The 170-room Stoneleigh Hotel & Spa in Dallas, Texas, opened March 3 with NORTHWIND’s full Maestro suite, including PMS, Sales and Catering, Spa and Activity Management, Retail POS, Fine Dining POS, Yield Management, ResEze Web booking engine and Maestro Analytics Business Intelligence. Re-opened in March 2008 after a $36 million renovation and restoration, the property includes a full-service spa, restaurant and penthouses.
NORTHWIND-Maestro PMS has expanded it’s Diamond Plus Service to include live, on-demand refresher and advanced one-on-one training sessions over the Web. Each live training session is facilitated by a Maestro expert and provides the opportunity to ask questions.
The 55-room Chandler Inn Hotel in Boston has selected NOVEXSYS’ Web-based property-management system. NOVEXSYS is built on the Microsoft .NET Framework and is offered only on a Software as a Service (SaaS) basis. (www.chandlerinn.com, www.novexsys.com)
- Microsoft buys Farecast
- Pegasus debuts next generation graphically-oriented Web site
- AAHOA selects InnLink as Preferred Provider for central reservation services
- PhoCusWright study: travel agency channel still books 41% of all US travel
- Pelican System to offer reservations packages on 2008 Formula 1 SingTel Singapore Grand Prix website
- Amadeus combines three leisure technology businesses into one unit
- Venere.com signs partnership agreement with China’s Hubs1 distribution platform
- Search engine Bezurk.com adds FastBooking’s 3,700+ hotel portfolio
- Travelport GDS acquires G2 SwitchWorks software modules for new agent desktop development
Microsoft has bought Farecast, an online travel search engine that attempts to predict whether airfares will rise or fall on domestic and international routes, and that recently expanded into helping people find potential bargains on hotel rooms. Farecast claims a 70% success rate in its predictions; its Fare Guard service allows travelers to lock in the prices on some flights and receive a refund if the predictions turn out to be wrong. (www.farecast.com, www.microsoft.com)
Pegasus Solutions has its next generation Web site with a visual-icon approach to guide agents, intermediaries, hotel chains and independent hotels to appropriate offerings. Clicking on icons for a hotel chain, independent hotel, travel agent or travel intermediary visitors are taken to appropriate virtual environments (a hotel atrium for hotel chains, exterior view of a hotel for independents, call center for agents, or a server rack for intermediaries) with graphics highlighting transactions facilitated by specific Pegasus products or services. (www.pegs.com)
AAHOA has selected InnLink as its Preferred Provider for Central Reservation Services. The agreement includes an exclusive package of services for AAHOA members and a reduced implementation fee. Participating properties will be able to use InnLink’s eLINK connectivity for GDS and online travel site (OTA) reservations, iLINK property Web site booking engine and vLINK voice and group reservation services. The package also includes a free Travel Agent Commission Settlement (TACS) feed nightly to simplify travel agent commission processing and payment online, and free interface implementation for any PMS System with an established InnLink interface. (www.aahoa.com, www.innlinkcrs.com)
A new PhoCusWright study reports that although online travel sales have soared, the travel agency distribution channel still represents 41% of all travel booked in the U.S. The study included interviews with 1,900 agents involved with ASTA, ARC and CLIA. The report says that key segments of the agency community are turning from the GDSs to supplier websites and other online tools to research and book product, and projects that 21 percent of all travel agency sales will be booked online by 2009.
Singapore GP Pte Ltd has appointed Pelican System to offer reservations packages on the official 2008 FORMULA 1 SingTel Singapore Grand Prix website, including hotel packages, race tickets, airport transfers and local sightseeing activities. Pelican will provide an extranet for participating hotels to adjust their rates and allotment. The inaugural FORMULA 1 SingTel Singapore Grand Prix will take place on 28 September 2008 on a street circuit of public roads around the Marina Bay area, and will be the first Formula 1 race ever held at night. (www.singaporegp.sg, www.pelicansystem.com)
Amadeus has combined its three leisure technology businesses (TravelTainment, Amadeus Tours and the product management and development for TOMA, a tour package distribution system) into a single business unit. (www.amadeus.com)
Italian online travel agent Venere.com has signed a partnership agreement with Hubs1, a distribution platform which connects more than 2000 hotels in China. Hubs1 is the Official Hotel Reservation Service Provider for the upcoming six-month World Expo 2010 Shanghai. (www.hubs1.net, www.venere.com)
Asian travel search engine Bezurk.com has signed a marketing partnership to include FastBooking’s 3,700+ hotel portfolio into the Bezurk travel search. Bezurk.com will display real-time room availability and rates for all of FastBooking’s hotel clients and will direct potential guests to FastBooking.com to complete the booking process. (www.bezurk.com, www.fastbooking.com)
Travelport GDS has acquired G2 SwitchWorks’ Kestrel point-of-sale application, the G2 web service core and several associated software development tools to use as key elements in its development of a new travel agent desktop system for release in early 2009. This will incorporate and ultimately replace its current agent POS applications, FocalPoint/ViewPoint from Galileo and Go! from Worldspan. Kestrel provides “point-and-click” search and booking across multiple sources including the GDSs, and allows agents to manage traveler profiles outside the GDS. (www.g2switchworks.com, www.travelport.com)
- Starwood to use Standing Dog Interactive’s ReviewAnalyst to track consumer-generated hotel reviews, videos and images
Starwood Hotels and Resorts has ordered Standing Dog Interactive’s ReviewAnalyst, an online dashboard for tracking consumer-generated hotel reviews, videos and images on travel and social sites. Over 900 Starwood properties will be able to use ReviewAnalyst to analyze these reviews and see rating and ranking comparisons with their top three competitors. (www.starwoodhotels.com, www.standingdog.com)
- IDeaS and Newmarket integrate Delphi 9.2 with IDeaS’ V5i 3.2
- Julian LeCraw & Company implements The Rainmaker Group’s revolution LRO
- Rainmaker Group celebrates ten year anniversary
IDeaS and Newmarket have integrated Delphi 9.2 with IDeaS’ V5i 3.2 revenue management system, to allow group sales managers to price potential group business with the IDeaS Group Pricing module without leaving Delphi. (www.ideas.com, www.newmarket.com)
Multifamily housing operator Julian LeCraw & Company has implemented The Rainmaker Group’s revolution LRO revenue optimization system. Julian LeCraw operates over 5,000 units throughout the Southeastern Unites States and uses revolution LRO on a Web-based application service provider (ASP) platform hosted at Rainmaker’s SunGard facility in Atlanta.
The Rainmaker Group is celebrating its ten year anniversary this spring.
- Southern Sun picks Newmarket’s Delphi MPE for two Middle East properties
- Newmarket appoints Wide Computer Systems as authorized Middle East reseller
- IDeaS and Newmarket integrate Delphi 9.2 with IDeaS’ V5i 3.2
- Greater Madison CVB contracts with MeetingMax for online housing
- Meeting Traveler magazine offers Cendyn’s MAD-Marketing as rapidReply Instant Quote
- BestCities Global Alliance selects UniFocus’ MEETINGScope
Southern Sun Hotels has selected Newmarket International’s Delphi Multi Property Edition for two of its Middle East properties, Southern Sun Qamardeen and Southern Sun Al Manzil, both in Dubai. The two properties will share leads, account and contact information.
Newmarket International has appointed Dubai-based Wide Computer Systems as an authorized reseller in the Middle East. Wide also represents IDeaS (Revenue Management), Serenata Software, Triton (Guest Services Management) and ShawMan Software (Loyalty and Customer Feedback Management Systems).
IDeaS and Newmarket have integrated Delphi 9.2 with IDeaS’ V5i 3.2 revenue management system, to allow group sales managers to price potential group business with the IDeaS Group Pricing module without leaving Delphi.
(www.southernsun.com, www.widesystems.com, www.ideas.com, www.newmarketinc.com)
The Greater Madison Convention & Visitors Bureau in Wisconsin has contracted with MeetingMax Systems for its online housing system, which allows delegates to book their own rooms in real time. Hotels process reservations through the system and CVBs have access to a master control panel, facilitating comprehensive meeting and convention management. (www.visitmadison.com, www.meetingmax.cc)
Meeting Traveler magazine is now offering Cendyn’s MAD-Marketing (formerly know as MADSearch) to its hotel partners under the name of rapidReply Instant Quote. RapidReply’s online service gives meeting planners an instant answer on availability and an estimated cost for their event. Meeting Traveler magazine, published once a year by Bonnier Corp., helps meeting planners identify luxury hotels for their meetings. (www.bonniercorp.com, www.cendyn.com)
BestCities Global Alliance has selected UniFocus’ MEETINGScope feedback system to help assess and improve customer satisfaction for meeting planners for its alliance of eight partners on five continents. (www.bestcities.net, www.unifocus.com)
- ReServe Interactive awarded 2008 IQ Award by Small Business Times
- Fine Catering by Russell Morin upgrades to CBORD’s Foodservice Suite, EventMaster PLUS!
- Mountain Park Lodges upgrades to SquirrelOne, runs four properties on one server
- Squirrel appoints AM/PM Services its Authorized Reseller in Quebec
ReServe Interactive has been awarded the 2008 IQ (Innovation Quotient) Award by the Small Business Times, given annually to southeastern Wisconsin companies creating innovative products, services or processes in business. The company was recognized for its Catering and Event Management, Dining Reservations and Table Management software. (www.reserveinteractive.com)
Fine Catering by Russell Morin has upgraded to The CBORD Group’s Foodservice Suite and EventMaster PLUS! After using CBORD’s EventMaster to manage its off-premise catering business for more than twenty years. (www.morins.com, www.cbord.com)
Mountain Park Lodges has upgraded its previous Squirrel Classic POS systems to SquirrelOne, running four of its properties in Jasper on a single server. The server is located at the Lobstick Lodge; Amethyst Lodge and Marmot Lodge are linked by a radio connection, and the Chateau Jasper via a fiber optic link. Pocahontas Cabins, 40 miles east of Jasper, will be linked next year through a high-speed EV-DO cell-phone connection. Payment processing is handled through Southern DataComm’s Protobase.
Squirrel Systems has appointed AM/PM Services of St-Laurent, QC as its Authorized Reseller in the province of Quebec.
(www.mpljasper.com, www.ampmservice.com, www.squirrelsystems.com)
- Denver’s Jet installs first new Roomlinx In-Room Media & Entertainment system
- Roomlinx appoints Creative Hospitality Associates (CHA) as sales partner
- Rosen and LXR expand use of VSi BoardEZ boarding pass printers
- Eaglewood Resort & Spa installs FlyteBoard, FlytePass
- Fort Lauderdale Grande Hotel and Yacht Club re-opens with GoConcierge
- Eleven Wireless announces ElevenPS self-service, business center multifunction laser printer
- Onity adds two new electronic in-room safe models, the OS200 and OS400
- Uniguest passes 2,000-customer mark
Boutique Denver hotel Jet is the first property to install Roomlinx’ new In-Room Media & Entertainment system. Using the in-room TV, a Windows-based media console, wireless keyboard and remote with integrated mouse, the Roomlinx system provides guests with comprehensive interactive services including hotel services, video-on-demand, standard free-to-guest international/U.S. television programming, DVR capabilities, local news/weather/business/sports updates, streaming music, iPod/MP3 compatibility, shopping, Microsoft-compatible business productivity tools, concierge assistance (including boarding pass printing), and PC/Web-based games.
Roomlinx has appointed Chicago-based Creative Hospitality Associates (CHA) as its sales partner for all products and services.
(www.jethotel.com, www.chaconsulting.net, www.roomlinx.com)
Rosen Hotels & Resorts and LXR Luxury Resorts & Hotels, Boca Raton are both expanding their use VSi BoardEZ airline boarding pass printers. BoardEZ also allows guests to purchase airline tickets and change their travel itinerary. Rosen’s Millennium Technology Group IT arm installed a unit in one of the seven Rosen properties in the Orlando area, and is planning additional installations for other Rosen properties. All 30 of LXR’s hotels have installed BoardEZ stations but are now adding more, up to five or six in busy areas of the larger properties. (www.millenniumtechnologygroup.com, www.luxuryresorts.com, www.ver-sys.com)
The Eaglewood Resort & Spa in Itasca, Illinois has installed Flyte Systems’ FlyteBoard real-time airline flight information display and FlytePass boarding pass printing kiosk. (www.eaglewoodresort.com, www.flytesystems.com)
The 589-room Fort Lauderdale Grande Hotel and Yacht Club has re-opened after a $70 million renovation, using GoConcierge to manage its four-person concierge team. A total of 20 people at the hotel have access to the system, including shipping and receiving, security and bell staff. (www.FortLauderdaleGrande.com, www.goconcierge.net)
Eleven Wireless has announced ElevenPS, a self-service, business center multifunction laser printer which uses Lexmark’s Embedded Solutions Framework (eSF) to generate revenue from guests’ copy, fax, and e-mail activity. ElevenPS is fully integrated with ElevenOS, the company’s centralized billing and authentication system for guest high-speed Internet access; all ElevenPS systems are monitored, upgraded, and managed centrally by the Eleven network operations center. The ElevenPS software is available on several monochrome and color Lexmark units, including the compact X646e and the full-color X782e. (www.elevenwireless.com)
Onity has added two new electronic in-room safe models, the OS200 and OS400. The OS Series safes feature digital PIN code operation and require the guest to enter a code each time to lock the door, to prevent accidental locking. (www.onity.com)
Uniguest announced that it has passed the 2,000 hotel mark for installations of its business centers, LobbyPC’s, and boarding pass printing stations. (www.uniguest.com)
- Sofitel contracts for wind-generated energy from Community Energy for all 9 US locations
Accor North America’s Sofitel Hotels has contracted to purchase wind-generated energy from Community Energy for all nine locations in the U.S., in the form of Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs). This qualifies Sofitel as an EPA Green Power Partner, the first hotel chain to do so. The properties will buy a total of 1,527,000 kilowatt hours (kWhs) of renewable energy. In 2007 Accor North America’s annual Earth Guest program of environmental initiatives included the planting of 20,000 trees (representing each Accor employee in North America), implementation of a 65-point environmental check list at all properties and at the corporate headquarters, and donation of $375,000 to educational and charitable groups. (www.accor-na.com)
- Several properties installing Onity’s CodePro PIN code-based electronic lock system
Several properties have begun installing Onity’s new CodePro PIN code-based electronic lock system:
– ResortQuest Northwest Florida is installing CodePro at several of its Navarre Beach resorts.
– Panhandle Getaways, based in Georgia, has chosen CodePro for its high-rise condominium projects in Panama City, Destin and Fort Walton Beaches.
– Virginia-based Good Management, North Carolina-based Ocean Isle Beach and California-based Yosemite Region Resorts are all installing CodePro locks in properties ranging from the new Cambridge Cove at Bermuda Bay Resort to beachfront and mountain resort vacation homes.